A Guide For A Healthy School Year During COVID-19
, 6 min reading time
, 6 min reading time
Congratulations! You have entered a new school year. Back to school season is going to look very different this fall. Many of us will be working and studying from home. Getting used to the new semester workload can be stressful enough. However, starting off your new school year during the COVID-19 pandemic can make things more challenging due to little work/life separation, restricted opportunities to spend time with friends and the lack of clarity about the future.
Our mental and physical well-being is important to a fulfilling school year. Here are three steps to a healthy school year during a pandemic.
1. Stay Flexible
During uncertain times, stress and anxiety can build up and become overwhelming. Instead of waiting for things to return to normal, resilience can be found in learning to rebuild a new normal as we explore how to take care of our own needs while keeping others safe. Learning to roll with the punches is an important mental asset to have as all of us tread through the evolving situation of this pandemic.
Adaptogens can be helpful to help the body increase its resistance and vitality against illnesses and stress. Ashwagandha, holy basil, reishi and siberian ginseng can help temporarily mitigate the negative effects of stress on a young adult’s well-being.
2. Be Prepared
One way to feel grounded in a changing environment is to be prepared and focus on what we can control.Before we enter into the cold and flu season, it’s important to have these items handy for those days you need to cram extra hard for your studies.
Nutrients That Help You Focus
Health Canada estimates that up to 35% Canadians are lacking zinc from their diet. This is due to the degrading mineral content in our soil. Zinc supercharges the communication channels in the brain that stimulate learning and memory. It is shown that a deficiency is linked to memory decline.
Fish oil is amazing to repair the structural integrity of the brain and contributes to mood and mental health by reducing silent inflammatory processes in the body.
A good night’s sleep is so important for your productivity the next day. After a long evening class or a late night cramming session, sometimes you can’t hit the off switch on a busy mind. In this case, there are some effective natural alternatives to aid sleep.
This mineral formulation combines the calming properties of magnesium and glycine, which makes it especially beneficial to a good night’s sleep.
Chamomile and lemon balm tea can also calm the nervous system to guide the mind into a more restful state.
● Immune Support
Vitamin C supports the production of white blood cells, which helps to defend against infections and reduce the severity and duration of colds and flu.
Sufficient blood levels of vitamin D can help with signalling immune response directly immune cells to attack and reduce excessive inflammation in the airway. We don’t get enough sunshine in fall/winter months so it’s important to have a bottle on hand.
Reishi activates your immune response once in contact with the mucous membrane in the gut, sending immune cells into the infection area. Unlike other immune modulating herbs such as echinacea and panax ginseng, reishi also supports autoimmunity and allergies.
3. Have a Self Care Routine
It might not seem like a big deal, but having a self-care routine is key to a productive school year.
Sugar might be the quick fuel a busy brain craves to have for a quick burst of energy, however, it’s also what makes us more tired by overdriving the production of serotonin in the brian. Even worse, the habit of the sugary pick-me-up can be addictive as well. Research shows sugar stimulates the reward centre of the brian, producing intense feelings of well-being which can result in cravings and addiction.
Here are a few quick, low sugar, protein-infused snacks that are filling and delicious to help with mood and academic performance.
Egg & Spinach Wrap
1 large egg
1 handful fresh baby spinach or alfalfa sprouts
1 tablespoon hemp hearts
2 tsp coconut oil
1 wrap ( I suggest coconut wrap or flax wrap such as Wrawp)
Pinch of pink Himalayan salt
Whisk the egg in a bowl and scramble on medium high heatin a pan with heated coconut oil
Add a pinch of salt and assemble the wrap
Chickpea & Egg Chef Salad
2 cups organic spring mix
½ cup cooked chickpeas
1 Japanese mini cucumber, sliced
1 hard boiled egg
3 tablespoon tahini
8 tablespoon lemon juice
Pinch of pink Himalayan salt
Mix tahini, lemon juice and salt together to make a dressing. Add water as needed to create desired consistency
Pour dressing over salad when ready to eat
For something sweet, you can try these delicious low sugar snack bars such as Good To Go or Iron Vegan Protein bars, my favourite is the brownie flavour.
Here is a creamy shake recipe that will keep your sweet tooth satisfied
Healthy Fats Chocolate Shake
Add ½ avocado, spinach, banana and raw cacao powder in a blender, add unsweetened almond milk and blend till smooth.
● Movement Is The Best Performance Enhancer
Physical activity is the most natural way to stimulate dopamine release and enhance brain performance by bringing oxygen into brain cells. Note that it’s the movement that matters, so regardless of your fitness level, set aside time for this important aspect of your well-being because it’s going to enhance your stamina for whatever comes ahead.
Tahlia Sage (Certified Nutritional Practitioner, Bsc Food, Nutrition & Health) is the founder of Tahlia Sage Wellness (tahliasagewellness.com) and a partner at Healing House Natural Wellness (healinghouseherbal.com), she is also an instructor at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition.
Her coaching practice helps clients achieve their wellness goals by embracing functional foods and healthy lifestyle changes. Tahlia’s own health challenges and weight issues prompted her to pursue an education in nutritional science and holistic nutrition. Tahlia empowers her clients to regain balance with easy, concrete steps. Connect with Tahlia for a free 15 min discovery session (https://square.site/book/0NC74C2PZ4VD0/healing-house-tahlia-sage).
Please consult a qualified practitioner before using herbal medicine for yourself and your children. This article is for information purposes only. If you feel overwhelmed or stressed, please make sure to reach out to free mental health resources in BC.